When the veterinary surgeon Eliot Forbes arrived in the Apple Isle to take up his new role as Chief Operating Officer of TasRacing the organisation had assets of nearly $55 million and borrowings of just $1.5 million.
By the time he left the Apple Isle racing control body as Chief Executive Officer it had just $41 million left in assets and was in hock to its bankers for almost $11 million.
Let me put that another way.
Under the leadership of Eliot Forbes $12.5 million dollars worth of TasRacing assets simply vanished into thin air.
Well not quite: most of it actually vanished into borrowings against the assets, and came out the other side in the form of $11 million of debt, not a dollar of which has then or now increased TasRacing’s equity base by even a single red cent.
The borrowed money was used – at ET’s volition – to install a Tapeta track at Spreyton, which most mainland punters will better know as the Devonport racecourse, which is located in the north of the small island and hosts 16 race meetings each year, all of them held either on a Sunday or during the week.
By way of comparison a near identical amount of money was allocated to the failed Eagle Farm course proper redevelopment, and they used to race at headquarters 46 times a year back in the days when it had a track and they could. To save you reaching for the calculator, that’s 3 times the number of meetings held annually at the Spreyton track.
Tapeta – a synthetic surface made of a mixture of sand, rubber and propylene fibre – is ill-favored by most trainers and Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum – better known as Mr Godolphin – hates it, but the huge selling point is that Tapeta is near-rainproof and races can be run on it under any weather conditions, even hurricanes.
ET’s bright idea was that if he built a synthetic all-weather track constructed by his mate – the former gun UK and USA trainer Michael Dickinson – then Tasmania would never lose an inclement weather again, because they could all be transferred to Spreyton if it rained so hard that the races scheduled to be run in Hobart or Launceston had to be called off because of the water-logged state of the track.
It would have been a great idea except for one little thing that ET overlooked.
Rain’s a miserable bastard of a bloke. He doesn’t usually tell you when he’s coming, he just sneaks up between races 1 and 2 and surrounds your racecourse with black clouds that often shoot out lightning bolts and make loud noises and drop swimming pool sized volumes of water on your track and in seemingly no time at all it’s underwater and you have no option but to abandon the rest of your meeting.
Just ask the feckless fools who run Doomben, because it’s happened to them twice in just the past few weeks.
But even the BRC buffoons f*cked Eagle Farm up they still never transferred a washed out race meeting 100m across the road to Doomben on race day. In the first place the logistics were and remain far too difficult, but even more so the contractual issues involving punters who had placed bets in good faith relying on the club’s representations that races were to be held on a markedly different track created a nightmare that could only have resulted in a court ordered compensation and damages financial firestorm should the BRC have been so silly as to ever have attempted such a last minute switch.
Strangely enough though – or not, as the case may be – Spreyton has ended up hosting a few abandoned race meetings from other tracks this year, almost all of them having been moved from the principal Elwick track in Hobart at least a week before they were scheduled to run.
Because thanks to the cost-cutting regime implemented by ET Forbes that included a ban on capital works the Elwick track is totally and utterly rooted, and due to the embargo on maintenance spending cannot drain water from between the 1300m and 850m marks, or between the 600m and 400m, rendering it totally unsafe to race on until Hobart has a week of brilliant sunshine that will evaporate the pooled rain water.
TasRacing annual report 2012/13
It sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it Sporsfans?
Bloody idiots running racing, borrowing until they drop, shaving costs everywhere except in places where cost cuts don’t matter, sacking staff or driving them out, hocking all the assets to the hilt, hooking the books to make themselves look good, ruining racing and then running like f*ck and running even faster leaving some other sucker holding the ticking ‘sorry about that, just sell one of your race courses and you’ll be right son’ time bomb they’ve left behind.
Racing loves you Queensland.
It’s such a shame that you don’t love us back.